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Sadiq Khan today put Londoners on three-month notice that the T-charge is coming in for the most polluting vehicles to drive into the city centre.
Posters are going up on the Tube to highlight to motorists that the £10-a-day levy, to tackle toxic air, will start from October 23. It will apply between 7am and 6pm on weekdays to cars registered before 2006.
Mr Khan said: “It is a shameful reality that children across the capital are breathing in air so filthy it affects the development of their lungs.
“I want to kick-start the change required to get motorists to ditch their old dirty diesels and polluting petrols.”
Diesel vehicles in particular are blamed for nitrogen dioxide levels above EU annual average legal limits in about 50 areas of London so far this year, according to monitoring by King’s College, London, though these figures could change in the coming months.
The blackspots include Marylebone Road in Westminster, Beech Street in the City, King’s Road and Knightsbridge, in Kensington and Chelsea, Putney High Street, Shepherd’s Bush and Euston Road in Camden.
The Mayor’s aim is to have the “toughest emission standard of any world city” in order to deal with the air quality “health crisis” blighting the capital.
An Ultra Low Emission Zone will be introduced in 2019 in central London, with a charge of £12.50, before being expanded to the North and South Circulars, with the levy set to be lower for the wider zone.
But some MPs are warning against penalising diesel car drivers who were encouraged to buy their vehicles from the early 2000s, when Labour was in power, as part of moves to address climate change.
London Pollution – In pictures
Mr Khan said he “understood” these concerns and is pushing for a targeted diesel scrappage scheme to subsidise low-income families to switch to cleaner models.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove signalled yesterday that he may back a limited scrappage scheme for the capital as he unveiled the Government’s plans to deal with high NO2 levels. He said that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned from 2040.
However, experts have questioned whether Britain will be able to generate enough electricity by then for the car fleet to be powered by electricity.
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